UPCOMING EVENT: Rayovac FLW Series - 2015 - Lake Erie

Forget pounds, Scheide wins by a ton

Pro Ray Scheide earned $100,000 for winning the FLW Tour event on Lake Okeechobee.

CLEWISTON, Fla. - Due to its sugar industry, the hamlet on the south shore of Lake Okeechobee known as Clewiston, Fla., calls itself the "Sweetest Town in America." It's a fitting venue for an easygoing, down-to-earth Wal-Mart FLW Tour rookie like Ray Scheide to win $100,000 in his first tour-level fishing event. But beneath his veneer of sweetness, Scheide possesses the competitive fire of a champion. In Saturday's final day of the FLW season opener at Okeechobee, the 33-year-old pro from Russellville, Ark., muscled his way into a five-bass limit weighing an impressive 21 pounds, 9 ounces. That pushed his two-day, final-round total to a massive 36-1, overwhelming his closest competitor, Chris McCall, by exactly 13 pounds. "This is unbelievable," he said. "I can't wait to call my wife." How Scheide, who led Friday with a 14 1/2-pound stringer, managed to hook into more than 20 pounds of bass Saturday when no one else could muster more than 12 1/2 pounds is no secret. He just found the big ones, simply enough. "I found an area the last day of practice where I caught an 11-pounder," Scheide said. "It looked awesome. It had every type of grass that you need." The area he fished all week was a quarter-mile stretch of hyacinth mats along Pelican Bay, east of South Bay. The location played right into his strength, which is flipping. The cold front that blew down from the north the last two days pushed many big female bass in the area off the spawning beds, leaving them scrambling for cover and warmth beneath the thick mats. From there, it was easy pickings for Scheide. "They were trying to spawn," he explained, "but when a cold front comes in, they're going to go to the nearest thick cover. The colder it got, the bigger the females were that came up in there. They were pre-spawn fish, full of eggs, fat." Scheide used the same technique Saturday that gave him the lead Friday. He flipped a Gambler cricket with a 1 1/2-ounce tungsten weight to penetrate the wind-thickened hyacinth mats, let the bait drop, then pulled it back up to just beneath the hyacinths and twitched until he got a bite. His first bass was a 6-pounder, and his biggest weighed over 7 pounds. He caught all of his 21 pounds by 10:30 a.m. Pro Ray Scheide of Russellville, Ark., used a two-day catch of 36 pounds, 1 ounce to claim his first FLW tile in his very first FLW Tour event."They just couldn't stand it when I did that," he said. "They just attacked it." Fishing in such heavy cover, Scheide used 65-pound braided line and only lost two fish all week. After he hooked them, he had to troll through some muck to go get them, but he rarely broke any off. "That's what's fun about this. You've got to put it into four-wheel drive to go get her," said Scheide, who obviously had some fun Saturday. "They aren't getting away if I can get them up in that mat. I never let up; I just kept at it." The cool-headed Scheide, a Wal-Mart BFL Okie Division standout whose previous best pro finish was second place in a 2002 EverStart Series Central Division event, didn't seem at all surprised by his hot start out of the FLW Tour chute. For him, it was all about preparation. "I had a good practice and a perfect week," he said. "This has been a dream of mine forever. I hope I can make a habit of this." Pro Chris McCall of Jasper, Texas, acknowledges the crowd before final weigh-in.McCall takes second The sentimental favorite at Okeechobee, McCall caught a limit weighing 9 pounds, 11 ounces Saturday, pushing his final-round total to 23-1 and second place. He collected $35,000 in prizes, but for the pro from Jasper, Texas, it was hard to put a value on his experience this week. His mother passed away while he was competing Wednesday, but McCall persevered. "We want to thank everybody for all their thoughts and prayers," he said, accompanied by his wife. "It's the best week of fishing I've ever had. It's a great start, especially after missing the championship last year by three places. You couldn't ask for a better start as far as the fishing goes." McCall, a second-year FLW pro, caught two of his bass Saturday on a spinnerbait, and the other three he caught by sight-fishing with Gambler baits. "Those three right at the end helped," he said. "This really changes everything. I don't really have to worry about making it from one tournament to the next anymore." Dudley cashes in again Fishing Machine, Manteo Machine, Cash Machine - whatever you call him, David Dudley just keeps the hammer down. The richest pro bass angler in history collected yet another check Saturday, this time for $20,000, after weighing in a limit and finishing third at Okeechobee with a final-round weight of 22 pounds, 11 ounces. The competitive Dudley, however, wasn't exactly satisfied with his own performance - which probably belies his penchant for winning. "I could have finished second, but I couldn't have caught (Scheide's) weight," said Dudley, who admitted that he might have made a mistake on the locations he fished in the finals. "I was just sight-fishing and I caught what I could catch, but I didn't even see enough good fish to catch him." Pro Shinichi Fukae of Osaka, Japan, won a fourth-place finish and $16,000 with a total catch of 20 pounds, 7 ounces.Fukae fourth, Lefebre fifth Also sight-fishing for the bulk of the week was Shinichi Fukae, a Japanese angler of the year from Osaka. He finished in fourth place and collected $16,000 with a total weight of 20 pounds 7 ounces in the finals. This was also his first FLW tournament. Dave Lefebre of Erie, Pa., finished in fifth place, worth $14,000, with a final-round total of 19 pounds, 7 ounces. He said he had trouble finding fish until later in the day throughout the tournament, but Saturday started fast for him. "I got a big one right off the bat today, and I haven't been able to get a morning bite all week," said Lefebre, whose limit weighed 9 pounds, 2 ounces today. "But this is exciting. (Okeechobee) was a great start for me last year, too." Rest of the best Rounding out the top 10 pro finishers at FLW Lake Okeechobee are Billy Bowen Jr. of Ocala, Fla., with a final-round total weight of 13 pounds, 9 ounces (sixth place, $11,000); Dean Rojas of Grand Saline, Texas, with a weight of 13-7 (seventh, $10,000); James Parker of Fayetteville, N.C., with a weight of 9-6 (eighth, $9,000); day-one leader Larry Nixon of Bee Branch, Ark., with a weight of 8-2 (ninth, $8,000); and Rick Lillegard of Atkinson, N.H., with a weight of 4-1 (10th, $7,000). The top seven pros all caught limits Saturday, and six of the 10 finalists caught limits both days of the final round. Overall, Lake Okeechobee version 2004 was an FLW Tour record-breaker. The expanded field of 200 pros and 200 co-anglers weighed in a total of 3,209 bass weighing 6,429 pounds, 11 ounces, smashing the previous Okeechobee record of 2,568 bass weighing 4,862-7 set in 2002 by a field of 175 pros and 175 co-anglers. The second FLW Tour stop of the season is scheduled for the Atchafalaya Basin near Morgan City, La., Feb. 11-14.

Tags: headline-story  jeff-schroeder 

/news/2015-08-29-lake-erie-day-3-midday-update

Lake Erie Day 3 Midday Update

Lake Erie put on a different face for day three of the final Rayovac FLW Series Northern Division event. After a rough day one, yesterday’s calm and mostly sunny conditions offered comfortable running and fishing conditions. Today was still a far cry from the brutal waves of day one - and prior practice days - but windier conditions and overcast skies seemed to present a more challenging scenario. READ MORE »

/news/2015-08-28-top-5-patterns-from-lake-erie-day-2

Top 5 Patterns From Lake Erie Day 2

Pennsylvania pro Dave Lefebre and Ohio pro Jared Rhode tied for the day-two lead in Rayovac FLW Series Northern Division action on Lake Erie with 43 pounds, 9 ounces. Both pros caught their fish on drop-shots. Here are the details of the rest of the top five. READ MORE »

/news/2015-08-28-lefebre-rhode-tied-at-the-top

Lefebre, Rhode Tied at the Top

Notching his second day of 20-plus pounds, FLW Tour pro Dave Lefebre tallied 43 pounds, 9 ounces and tied day-one leader Jared Rhode for the day-two top spot at the Rayovac FLW Series Northern Division event on Lake Erie. Lefebre caught his 22-3 limit on Rapala DT-10 crankbaits, while Rhodes tempted his 19-15 catch with drop-shots. READ MORE »

/news/2015-08-28-lake-erie-day-2-midday-update

Lake Erie Day 2 Midday Update

With winds shifting from yesterday’s northerly blow to a warmer southerly direction, day two of the Rayovac FLW Series Northern Division event on Lake Erie brought calmer conditions with greater ability to methodically work key spots. Offshore, waves ran 1 to 2 feet, with leeward areas behind the Lake Erie Islands nearly flat. READ MORE »

/news/2015-08-27-rhode-cracks-23-10-for-erie-lead

Rhode Cracks 23-10 for Erie Lead

Jared Rhode played his cards and the gamble paid off better than expected, as the pro from Port Clinton, Ohio, took the day-one lead at the Rayovac FLW Series Northern Division event on Lake Erie with a limit catch weighing 23 pounds, 10 ounces. READ MORE »

/news/2015-08-27-top-5-patterns-from-lake-erie-day-1

Top 5 Patterns from Lake Erie Day 1

Taking off this morning, the FLW Tour pro from Erie, Pa., knew the day’s north wind would keep him from making a long run to a big-fish spot close to his home. However, keeping it local and fishing a little past Pelee Island to the west delivered a solid second-place catch. READ MORE »

/news/2015-08-27-lake-erie-day-1-midday-report

Lake Erie Day 1 Midday Report

Winds have subsided considerably since practice, but Lake Erie’s still showing her temperamental side to Rayovac FLW Series Northern Division anglers fishing the last divisional event out of Sandusky, Ohio. READ MORE »

/news/2015-08-25-top-10-patterns-from-the-forrest-wood-cup

Top 10 Patterns from the Forrest Wood Cup

If you don’t believe that summertime bass fishing in the dog days of August is all over the map, just take a look at the top 10 patterns from the best bass pros on earth at the 2015 Forrest Wood Cup on Lake Ouachita. Brad Knight captured the Cup by mining one small creek end for four days. But beyond that, the rest of the top 10 patterns ran the gamut, from targeting schoolers over 40 feet to wolf packs of bass on the bank to brush piles to grass to mud flats and everywhere in between. Here’s a rundown. READ MORE »

/news/2015-08-23-knight-slays-ouachita

Knight Slays Ouachita

Lancing, Tenn., pro Brad Knight won the 2015 Forrest Wood Cup presented by Walmart on Lake Ouachita with a four-day total of 51 pounds, 12 ounces. In front of a standing-room-only crowd at Bank of the Ozarks Arena in Hot Springs, Ark., Knight weighed in 11-07 on day four to surpass Jacob Wheeler, who started the day with a 12-ounce lead. Fishing in just one area all four days, Knight locked up the first win of his FLW career. He earned $500,000 for his victory and pushed his career earnings total to more than $688,000. READ MORE »

/news/2015-08-23-forrest-wood-cup-day-4-coverage

Forrest Wood Cup Day 4 Coverage

Daily updates from the Forrest Wood Cup on Lake Ouachita. READ MORE »

/news/2015-08-22-wheeler-back-in-front

Wheeler Back in Front

Jacob Wheeler loves Lake Ouachita. It’s where he fished his first Forrest Wood Cup in 2011, and it’s where he’ll take the tournament lead into the final day of competition at the 2015 Forrest Wood Cup presented by Walmart and hosted by Visit Hot Springs and the Arkansas Department of Parks and Tourism. Wheeler, the 2011 Cup champion, led this tournament on day one and slipped a couple spots on day two. He now has a very slim 12-ounce lead over Tennessean Brad Knight. The anglers will square off tomorrow on Ouachita starting at 7 a.m. against the rest of the top 10 pros for the top prize of $500,000. READ MORE »

/news/2015-08-22-top-5-patterns-from-the-cup-day-3

Top 5 Patterns from the Cup Day 3

Jacob Wheeler may have regained his lead in the Forrest Wood Cup on day three, but Brad Knight is right on his heels. Going into the final day, the two pros are separated by just 12 ounces. The margin is tight, and what’s going to make the final day fun to watch is the difference in the two anglers’ strategies. Wheeler is running a topwater pattern on the main lake, and fishing new water is part of his plan. Knight, however, has caught almost all of his weight from one 250-yard stretch of bass-rich creek channel. He literally knows every target he is fishing by heart. On the surface, Knight’s area looks to be the better bet. But he has shared the general area with Brandon Cobb and Mark Daniels Jr. for three solid days. And the bad news, at least for Knight, is that both Cobb and Daniels will be sharing the water with him again on the final day as both made the top-10 cut. READ MORE »

/news/2015-08-22-forrest-wood-cup-day-3-coverage

Forrest Wood Cup Day 3 Coverage

Daily updates from the Forrest Wood Cup on Lake Ouachita. READ MORE »

/news/2015-08-21-ramie-races-into-the-lead

Ramie Races into the Lead

On the back of a 17-pound, 14-ounce limit, which is the biggest of the tournament thus far, Ramie Colson Jr. jumped from seventh place to take over the lead at the halfway point of the 2015 Forrest Wood Cup presented by Walmart. Colson’s two-day total is 31 pounds, 1 ounce, which puts him almost 3 pounds ahead of Tennessee’s Brad Knight. The Forrest Wood Cup, which is hosted by Visit Hot Springs and the Arkansas Department of Parks and Tourism, moves into its top-20 round on Saturday. The top 10 pros after Saturday’s weigh-in advance to Sunday’s final round for a shot at the $500,000 top prize. READ MORE »

/news/2015-08-21-top-5-patterns-from-the-cup-day-2

Top 5 Patterns from the Cup Day 2

At times, bass fishing can be a lot like real estate, where the three most important rules are location, location and location. The 2015 Forrest Wood Cup on Lake Ouachita presented by Walmart is starting to become a bit of a real estate game where location is the primary consideration in who climbs the leaderboard. And those mining the backs of creeks and tributaries are on the prime pieces of real estate. Consider that after day two, four of the top five pros are concentrating their fishing efforts in the back ends of creeks or rivers. All of these areas fit a classic late-summer, early-fall pattern where shad pack into the back of creek ditches that meander through shallow flats. READ MORE »

/news/2015-08-21-forrest-wood-cup-day-2-coverage

Forrest Wood Cup Day 2 Coverage

Daily updates from the Forrest Wood Cup on Lake Ouachita. READ MORE »

/news/2015-08-20-wheeler-hunting-history

Wheeler Hunting History

It’s never been done before, and it hasn’t happened yet, but Jacob Wheeler is in prime position to become the first two-time Forrest Wood Cup champion in history. Wheeler, of Indianapolis, Ind., brought in a 16-pound, 2-ounce limit of Lake Ouachita bass on the first day of the Cup, which is presented by Walmart and hosted by Visit Hot Springs and the Arkansas Department of Parks and Tourism. READ MORE »

/news/2015-08-20-top-5-patterns-from-the-cup-day-1

Top 5 Patterns from the Cup Day 1

After day one of the Forrest Wood Cup on Lake Ouachita, several things have come to light. For one, this event is not likely to produce a runaway win for anyone like it did when Scott Martin won here in 2011. Second, when the pros said Ouachita was going to be stingy, they meant it – only 29 of the 50 pros checked in limits today. Third, firm patterns are hard to come by on Lake Ouachita in August. Jacob Wheeler took the lead on day one in the event that’s presented by Walmart and hosted by Visit Hot Springs and the Arkansas Department of Parks and Tourism. With the help of a 5-pound bass, Wheeler weighed in a limit of 16 pounds, 2 ounces, but he had to sample a lot of different areas for his catch. Here’s how the rest of the top five got it done. READ MORE »

/news/2015-08-20-forrest-wood-cup-day-1-coverage

Forrest Wood Cup Day 1 Coverage

Daily updates from the Forrest Wood Cup on Lake Ouachita. READ MORE »

/news/2015-08-17-elkins-looked-deep-on-erie

Elkins Looked Deep on Erie

Matt Elkins of Spencerville, Ohio, weighed a five-bass limit totaling 22 pounds, 6 ounces Saturday to win the fourth Walmart Bass Fishing League Michigan Division tournament on the Detroit River. For his victory, Elkins earned $5,337. READ MORE »